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Bursting out of the boss’s office door gave e of surprise For about fifteen feet

I shook my hair to fall into my face and kept my head down, squared my shoulders, and slammed one foot down in front of the other so my heels echoed rifle-shot-style on the terrazzo floor Concealing ht hand in h and slowly lowered it, pointing imperiously to the front door

Vida herself had said I looked like her Maybe enough to pull off a short stroll

Aroundin their occupations, turning their attention on e My left hand pushed the left glass door open so hard it banged against the glass all

A cracking sound cascaded into a shower of broken glass that tinkled like the very highest keys on a piano I was still striding away toward the street, Delilah Street, not daring to look back

When the second of the double glass doors resounded as it slammed open, I broke into a full-out run Thanks to GPS, I had an aerial led across to the next dark building I dodged around the Duh yips of once-human hounds

Speed was not on my side, and I knew they could scentlot of the Rave Machine Darting through the highest SUVs and pickups, I noticed a lot of non-California license plates These patrons were unwary tourists who didn’t know Corona supported a hornet’s nest of vah-sepia stea color, red bleeding into theoff lines holding up both sides of the wallsthe restrooirls in black lipstick snarled at me

"Just what I intend," I snarled back "I’d stay in the restroom if you don’t want to be vauys, some in black eyeliner, whistled and noticed me

"Schoolteacher," one drawled, and others took up the refrain "We’ll ated cardboard tried to block ainst the wall You just can’t drink and drug and then e is a waste on punks like you," I told theht be, but pathetic victi of theh-pitched end of the clamor the first wave of vampire victims or just bad-rock white noise? And where was Lilith?

A ring of deserted tables hugged the walls Everybody was dancing I guess it was either o blind and deaf to stay sane Okay, I’ a faux leather jacket to cover my out-of-sync dress

A central open staircase htdrawn into crazy rabbed uy," one of the workout-gear-clad vaht away Her eyes widened with lust as herfor , I could see drops of drool on the fang-tips Seriously unsanitary

My silver dagger stabbed through the flih to stick it in under her rib cage and twist, hoping the silver fa The feel of blade tip rebounding off bone and then sinking deep into gushy heart of darkness was so repellent, I stopped the attack

A horrid burnt acid sarette smoke rose between us while our eyes held Her pupils vanished up into her eye sockets as blood suffused the whites, whose blood, I had no idea Not h to hope for at the moment

She fell onto the first steps as I skirted her foralloped up the stairs two at a time, soundless in the cacophony, desperate for an overhead vieould I ever spot Lilith in this crowd? She blended in like pot in a look-alike spider plant field

Froirls were not only already inside, they hadthem into a dance fever Their colorful workout wearthe undertaker-black clad clientele like carnivorous Easter bunnies in a bat cave

Great Up here, I had a bead on every one of those fang-girl, grrrl-power bloodsuckers and no anti-aircraft guns to mow theood a job killing their victims as they would

Helpless witness is not a role I care to take

A pair of icy hands grasped my shoulders from behind

I spun around and away fro e ht the shadowy form in the abs

"You are mean on the other side of the , defensive crouch "You oughta knowup here?"

"Quick smoke They don’t allow it down below"

"That’s the only thing they don’t allow"

Lilith edged into the light reflected froures like spiked wored to hurt you?" I tried to sound disbelieving Our mama was a vampire I kneasn’t one Didn’t mean Lilith was taint-free

"Not that bad" Lilith showed her teeth as her breath hissed in They were reasonably square and blunt "If I don’t hold my defensive ink back, you’d be baled in barbed wire Guess I startled you"

"We’ve nevertouched before"

"And won’t do it again," Lilith swore "I won’t bite, promise"

"Unless you’re a vampire"

"Not yet I wanted to ask you--discreetly for bats cheerleader types on the dance floor all came from They look more your style than , curling her hands around the top round bar

The phanto lace and vanished into the dark surface Her body inkinto the nearest inert metal Itan involuntary copper intrauterine device into sterling silver endo Maybe I wasn’t the only bionic baby

"Have your dark tattoos always been o like a rash, without ht Hold it overa hard case, why don’t you?"

"Good sister, bad sister," I said with a grin, feeling oddlythe situation Lilith smothered a sbats’ below are a bunch of vao wild"

"No shit! That’s why you retreated up here Great view of the carnage"